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Bush Life at Leopard Hills, thirteen years of “Bliss”

Posted on January 30, 2010

I would like to introduce myself, my name is Megan-Amy Rodgers and I am Duncan and Louise Rodgers 13 year old daughter. I am often asked about growing up in the African bush so this is my story of my life at Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve.

I was born at Savanna on the 18th of September 1996 and I spent my first 18 months there. We then moved to Leopard Hills in March 1998.

My life in the bush is very blessed and I never take anything for granted, I am not very good in the city, but hopefully I can tell you which bird “that” is.

Eight years ago the owners of Leopard Hills kindly opened a school here at the lodge. All my schooling has taken place here, the school now has 4 children in it, I being the oldest, and Promise who is almost 13 and has been with us 9 years, and Kiara my sister is 10 and Storm who is also 10. So, we have an all girl’s school! Our wonderful teacher Marlise has been teaching us for just over a year, she makes learning fun and gives us all individual attention.

My home is a lovely house on the property and along with my Dad, Mum and Kiara we also have 3 dogs. Jessie our staffie is almost 9, Mister Bojangles our blond Labrador is 3 and Ginger Rodgers another Labrador is just over a year. Having dogs in the bush takes a lot of watching, they cannot be on their own outside at all, leopards and lions would attack them, even baboons and warthogs are a real danger to dogs, all this AND of course the snakes! Can you believe we even have our own dog trainer! Dear friends of ours, Perdita and Rolf are very regular guests who also happen to be dog trainers, they are from Germany and often tell us we “have Vunderful dogs” Thanks to you both for your time and energy with our 4 legged friends.

Mr BojanglesGinger RodgersJessie

As children growing up in the bush we have also had to be vigilant of animals and snakes, our daily dangers are very different to those of children growing up in the city, everyone has dangers in life; ours are just a bit different to others!

On any day we can have elephants, lions or any type of animal outside our veranda at home, we have been sitting on at our dining room table doing homework and had a leopard lying on the pool loungers on the veranda just a few feet away from us, thankfully the doors were closed!. We have even had a Leopard sitting on our roof!!

Leopard on the Roof

Many a time we have had elephants eating our garden, when they eat my Mum’s spinach it makes her really mad! The baboons also love her marrow, thankfully they don‘t eat herbs.

I have been fortunate enough to meet many special guests here who have become great friends of ours over the years. Trevor and Theresa who we have been fortunate enough to be able to have an amazing trip to lake Kariba with 18 months ago, fishing and having fun, can‘t wait we are all going again in a months’ time with Van and Marius to Upper Zambezi, can‘t wait!, Tom and Enid, Alan and Ruth, and countless others. I have also made some very special from the amazing staff here, some I have known for 12 years, including Sophie who has worked in our house with us since before I could even walk!

Kiara and I have helped over the years to raise money for the orphanage Leopard Hills supports, we spent many many hours beading and making jewellery to sell in the shop, with all our endeavours we managed between us to raise R6000.00. We also give all our toys that we have grown out of to the children as well; I hope this has helped them over the years.

I am also so lucky that my Nana gets to visit us about twice a year from England and other family members, what a privilege to be able to show them where I live; I just wish they could be here more often.

I often get to go on game drives or out with friends for an afternoon, it doesn‘t matter whether I see animals, just being in the bush is special enough, but I have to say I have not even been out and not seen something, even a beautiful sunset or clear stars with a full moon is spectacular, especially as we have no light pollution here.

We have been very fortunate in the past to have been able to go out with the Rangers and experience such things as Rhino darting, when they are doing research on the animals, it is so amazing to able to see this animals up close and be able to touch them. I don‘t think many School children can say this forms part of their school projects. Once we even witnessed the darting of a Male Cheetah that had been injured, it recovered fully, and we still see it in the bush today.

Picture Rhino darting. Cheetah darting.

Once Marius even had to rescue a Buffalo Calf that had been left behind when the herd was attacked by a Pride of Lions, again it was a happy ending, and it was successfully reintroduced into the herd a day later, it was so special to see it reunited with its mother.

Being able to lie in bed at night and hear the lions roar, the hyenas cackle or the nightjars singing is incredible; falling asleep in the city is not easy without these sounds.

I am often asked “what is my favourite animal” how do I answer that? They are all special from the magnificent elephants that walk so quietly through the bush you can hardly hear them, the Lion that looks right through you as if you are not there, and the buffalo that always looks at you like you owe it money! But I also love the shy bushbuck’s that graze outside our house every day, the monkeys that are always on the lookout for something to eat, the warthogs on their knees mowing the lawns, the swallows that are nesting under the eaves of our roof every year they return to the same nests and just upgrade them. Every possible part of the bush is God’s home and I am extremely blessed and privileged to be able to call this place my home and able to share it with everyone that comes here.

Do I miss the city and a big school? I don‘t know what they are, so how can I miss them! It is nice to go shopping and eat pizzas, but I would rather have what I have right here at home.

Imagine one day being able to tell my children where I grew up, I just hope these wilderness areas are still here for the animals to still roam freely in. That is something only man can decide and I hope he treats it with respect as I do.

0 thoughts on “Bush Life at Leopard Hills, thirteen years of “Bliss”

  1. First, some words to the GREAT parents Louise and Duncan ? I ma a mother of 19th young Lady ? you are doing fantastic work, one of the toughest job in the whole world! You must be very proud of them!

    Megan, Kiara ? what a lovely cogitations, stories and pictures you both are sharing with us! I?m absolutely touched! You give us a hope, that this magic sanctuary will survive against all and a new generation will have a chance to enjoy Africa as we do ? well done!

    Plus ? you are doggy as I am ? Max 11,5 Rottweiler, Milka 6,5 Golden Retriever and Mrs. Norris stray cat age unknown circa 9 😀

    Love you Girls!

  2. Megan, this is such a lovely article and so well written. Thank you very much for giving us a whole new and refreshing angle on life in the bush. Your stories are truly inspiring and it is so nice to see how you and Kiara appreciate living in the bush. Also, the pictures are fantastic!
    I look forward to seeing many more stories from you guys in the future.
    PS: Clearly you got your Mom and Dad?s great sense of humour… 😉

  3. What a wonderful article Megan and you write so beautifully.I know how much you love the bush and all the people and animals there. Mom and Dad must be so proud of you and it looks like you are going to take after Dad with his superb stories. I am so proud of you as is Grandad!

    You and Kiara have both done so well.

    heaps of love

  4. Megan, I am so proud of you for this wonderful story my girl. So well written and well done for sharing your incredible childhood with everyone. What I love most is you never take it for granted and everything you see I see your face light up like you have never seen it before. YOu will have many stories to tell you children one day. Love you sweetheart. Mum

  5. Thank you for your special story.

    I have only been to the lodge as a visitor, but you gave wonderful insite into what it would be like to live there

  6. Megan,

    I’ve known you since you were born and proud to see what a wonderful person you have grown up to be. You have great insight to life. It’s obvious that you love the bush the way your dad does.

    Grea article.

  7. megan,my how wonderfully you write,straight from your heart.it was a pure pleasure to read it all.the love you feel for the bush,plus its surrounding beauty.your obvious love for the bush, the happiness it brings to you. your insights are an absolute pleasure to read.please keep writing! you have a great gift of written words, combined by your enthusiasm for all of lifes gifts. thank you, im saving to return to leopard hills.it is a place that shall be forever in my heart.
    judy richards

  8. You MUST have a wonderful teacher as that is the best story I’ve read about the bush so far! I give you an A++++! We really live in two different worlds. I grew up on the coast of Washington State way up in the Northwest corner of the US. Not too much danger here and lots and lots of fun. Horseback riding, bicycles, playing for hours on the beach making sand castles or my favorite sand cakes! Everyone knew everybody else (small town) and I was quite free most of my childhood. Thank you dear girl again, for a lovely story. Your parents must be so proud!
    Sue from Seaside, Oregon.

  9. megan,my how wonderfully you write,straight from your heart.it was a pure pleasure to read it all.the love you feel for the bush,plus its surrounding beauty.your obvious love for the bush, the happiness it brings to you. your insights are an absolute pleasure to read.please keep writing! you have a great gift of written words, combined by your enthusiasm for all of lifes gifts. thank you, im saving to return to leopard hills.it is a place that shall be forever in my heart.
    judy richards

  10. Hi Megan,

    You have a wonderful life in the bush & you clearly love & respect it from your heart. You are a very lucky girl…carry on with your writing & know that you are an ambasador of the bush & our country, even at your young age. Enjoy & have lots of fun up there with all the animals…

    Regards
    Drew

  11. Megan it has been 13 years of fun, happiness and joy watching you grow up in the Bush.

    One of the things we as parents are trusted with is giving our children the foundations for what they build their lives on in the future, we are blessed that your foundations are built on "rock".

    Your insight into your childhood experiences is way beyond your years, but I guess living out here is timeless, enjoy every minute of it, your Mum and I do.

  12. Megan
    Fantastic composition! It is lovely to hear how much you enjoy and appreciate your life in the bush.

    Looks like your Dad may have some competition in the story telling department by you and Kiara both.

    Hope to see more articles from you in the future.
    Michelle

  13. Megan, what a wonderful view into your world & I appreciate you sharing it. I will forward it to all my friends & relatives so that they may enjoy it as well. I just have one favor to ask. May I be the first to receive an autographed copy of your article when you publish it in the "Season in Africa" magazine?

  14. Hi Megan
    I have just read your wonderful story .
    Growing up with those amazing experiences everyday is a dream come true .keep writing ,really looking forward to seeing you soon
    lots of love x

  15. Hi Megs,
    You ALWAYS did have a way with words and wisdom beyond your years. Well done for using your talents wisely! I am often BEGGED to tell stories of my life in ‘the bush’ and I only have 18months worth of stories… ! (My own fault I know!) It makes me really happy when I see the QUALITY writing you and your sister are doing. Keep it up!! Lots of love, Cara

  16. Megan: Thank you for your story. I’ve sent it to my grand children. We’re bring Rachel in 2 years. She’ll be 10 then. Arnold

  17. Hi Megan! So very. very much enjoyed reading your post. How very special it is to be able to grow up where you are..and know you are so well aware of it.

    I’m over the moon with what you wrote and can’t wait to see you in August. PS…hope the leopard cubs are still nearby! 🙂
    Lief jou!

    Joy in Camarillo Ca.

  18. And I can see how Megan will be the principal of the world wide well known school in the busch where parents from even the UK and USA will send their kids to!

  19. Hi Megan,

    Well, I guess I’ve known you almost as long as your mom and dad have…. Over the years you have endured the ups and downs of growing up in a awesome, unique and challenging environment. Your truly inspiring (and entertaining)story reflects the results of the good genes inherited from your wonderful parents, the influence of family and close friends and your unusual and retrospective insight for one so young.

    I look forward to your next publication.

    Allen (Big AL)

  20. Hi Megan, you don’t know me and we’ll probably never meet but I wanted to tell you what a fine young lady you are. I have 11 grandchildren so I have even a larger appreciation of your "blog" and since I’m a photographer in Carefree, AZ I LOVE TO SEE YOUR PICS. I am also a friend of Susan and Lou Matusiak. They live up the street from us. Keep up your wonderful account so that your children will "feel" your memories. Linda Covey

  21. Hey Megs,
    Awesome article… I do hope our Taeghan grows up to have as much appreciation for living in the bush as you do, not to mention may she have such excellent writing ability!
    Love,
    Karl, Llane & Taeghan

  22. Hey Megs,
    What a wonderful article! Yoh………………..you go sister.Fabulous is proud of you.Love you

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